Is Quality King? (June 2019)

What do we mean by “Quality”

Dictionary definitions of Quality are slightly dreary: “comparing standards...measuring the degree of excellence…how good or bad something is.”

At Synterest, we can't offer a definitive alternative for the restaurant industry. But without hesitation, as a customer, we know Quality when we feel it. It's there when you feel an in-depth pleasure and satisfaction in the product or service you received. You know you've experienced it when you have an excited anticipation at sharing with others the story of your experience. It's pretty simple, you want to go back.

Is Luxury the same as Quality?

It doesn’t matter whether you play a part in a fine dine restaurant, French bistro, British pub, or burger van in a layby. Ensuring everyone you encounter feels they have experienced Quality has to be at the forefront of your agenda.

There is simply no link between Quality and the price paid for something. Take for example a Rib-Eye steak. A chef from The Dorchester in Park Lane sells his Japanese Wagyu for £160.00. The Dog and Duck chef buys direct from the local farm and charges £20.00.

Q.Which customer receives the best Quality?

A.Well, it could be either. The Quality perceived by the customer is not related to the price he or she pays. If The Dog and Duck is delivering all the customer’s expected strands of Quality flawlessly, then his or her perception of that Quality will equal (or possibly even exceed) that of the customer paying 8 times the price.

Who decides if you are delivering Quality?

Your customers are the judge and jury of your Quality. Will their perception of your Quality mean they choose to eat with you in the first place? If they do, will they return? And ultimately will they recommend you to others?

So Why is Quality King?

Perceived Quality will determine whether they come through the door

To succeed as restaurateurs, we must possess canny powers of persuasion to entice our customers through the door. They have so much choice, so little time and dwindling reserves of such precious cash.

Quality begins online

A potential customer’s perception of your restaurant’s Quality begins online with reviews and social media feeds.

Any of those sources may be inaccurate, unfair, made-up or even sponsored. Even the genuine ones offer a tiny minority of our customers’ opinions, yet still they divert attention away from what should be the unwavering focus: delivering Quality to the majority of your customers. The online ratings and Instagram tags then take care of themselves.

Quality and your brand

Your brand is your promise. It sets your customer’s expectations of Quality and demonstrates your level of commitment. The Dog and Duck may not have a mission statement, let alone a brand strategy. But its promise of Quality is visible and tactile: embedded in its signage, car park, entrance, the first greeting, its menus and glassware.

You need to delivery on this promise of quality because broken promises hurt more than no promise at all.

Delivering Quality will result in a competitive edge

I recently arrived in Seville on a Saturday night in January. I set out, with my AirBnB owner’s list of recommended tapas bars. The first was crammed full of Sevillians sampling craft beer and tucking into tapas. Customers were queuing for tables. The same with the second, and the third. But I passed countless empty restaurants with arm-folded waiters staring out onto the street.

They all offered similar menus, comparable prices and the same beer. But, discerning locals will never compromise on Quality. The popularity of the Quality venues grew as people shared their experience. Their Quality was a magnet to higher calibre chefs and slicker wait staff.

The end result when you deliver Quality (consistently), is results head and shoulders above your competition.

The Quality you offer will be the reason they return (or don’t)

If the Quality you offer your customers is low, then brandishing Android and iOS weapons of mass destruction, they will ruthlessly and dramatically have an influence on potential customers - and your perceived Quality - with instant effect.

They will never come back. Nor will their friends. And you may never know why.

So Quality must be delivered in the form of an experience which makes your customers feel valued if you want to see them again. You must: take pride in your product; truly understand what your customers are thinking; anticipate their needs; empathise; remember them from previous visits; and reward their loyalty.

Simply put, delivering Quality should be treated as the single most important factor to all restaurants in all price brackets, because:

  1. Your perceived Quality will determine whether your customers come through your door;

  2. Deliver Quality and your customers will return and will share their positive experience;

  3. Restaurants delivering Quality command a clear competitive edge;

  4. Restaurants delivering Quality attract and retain better teams; and

  5. A relentless focus on Quality WILL transform your business.

But leave Quality to chance at your peril. If you sit back and manage your restaurant by financials alone, then you are managing through your rear-view mirror. Those figures are just a prologue to the complete story.

Managing your business by truly understanding what your customers think of your Quality and delivering improvements based on that collective intelligence completes the story and changes your restaurant's future.

Your customers will feel the difference.

They will come.

They will return.

They will recommend you.

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